According to researchers, a new technique which images cartilage could lead to earlier detection of Osteoarthritis. An X ray exam is the standard way of detecting Osteoarthritis, a painful disease where the cartilage between the joints wears away. But an X ray cannot image the cartilage direct it only shows that the gap between the bones is getting narrower.
Researchers at the University of Texas, have been developing a technique called diffraction enhanced imaging (DEI) that can create an image of cartilage. They have found it can be used to detect early Osteoarthritis, before it's visible by X ray. Certain features of DEI correlate well with the clinical stages of arthritis.
They want to get DEI into clinics to screen for Osteoarthritis, so it can be detected earlier and management started sooner. The other possibility is to use DEI to test new Osteoarthritis drugs, to see if they can slow down the erosion of cartilage.